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Sam’s Club’s revamped Scan & Go app helps shoppers bypass checkout lanes

Sam’s Club is ramping up for a nationwide rollout of its revamped Scan & Go mobile application this fall after a successful regional pilot, enabling in-store shoppers to use their smartphones to scan items and pay directly within the app instead of using the self-checkout lane.

The wholesale retailer, which is a subsidiary of Walmart, previously rolled out an iteration of Scan & Go in 2013 that required users to scan their desired products with the app and complete their transactions in the self-checkout lane. Sam’s Club’s newest Scan & Go update, which has been undergoing a small-scale pilot in approximately 240 locations, lets consumers pay for their purchases directly within the app and bypass potentially long lines in stores.

“We are always looking for ways to optimize checkout for improved speed of service and member experience,” said Dianna Gee, spokeswoman for Sam’s Club. “There is new technology in place that wasn’t previously available with the 2013 pilot.

“This new technology means an improved interface that is more user-friendly and simple, a paperless process, improved bar code scanning and the ability for members to skip the registers and make a payment directly from their mobile phone,” she said. “These enhancements mean a much easier and more convenient experience that saves our members time.”

Streamlined in-store shopping
Sam’s Club first introduced its Scan & Go pilot in Fayetteville, AR. The original version of the app was similar to today’s version, but required customers to go through self-checkout lanes to pay for their purchases.

As a result of consumers’ growing acceptance of mobile payment options, the wholesale retailer opted to add these functionalities to Scan & Go, enabling users to scan desired items, pay for them directly within the app and skip the checkout lanes.

Scan & Go users can walk directly to the store’s exit and show the greeter their digital receipt prior to leaving.

This update lets consumers save vast amounts of time during peak shopping hours and eliminates the need to grapple with potentially clunky self-checkout lanes.

“We’ve removed that step as part of our improvement and the feedback’s been phenomenal,” Ms. Gee said.

Sam’s Club’s customers are able to view the running total of all of the items in their carts as they shop. If a product does not have a visible bar code to scan, shoppers can look up the item in the app and manually add it to their totals.

Scan & Go users can also text or email their digital receipts to themselves or family members.

The Scan & Go app, which was developed by Walmart Labs, is currently live in 240 Sam’s Club locations, with a nationwide rollout to all 654 clubs planned for this fall.

The retailer began testing the current version last fall.

Smartphones as shopping companions
Sam’s Club aims to leverage mobile as a way to streamline customers’ experiences in its stores, which typically cover large amounts of square footage and house thousands of products.

“The primary focus is to elevate the member experience by making the checkout process faster as well as making it more convenient for the member,” said Shauna Bowen, vice president of operations transformation at Sam’s Club.

The forthcoming nationwide rollout of Scan & Go arrives on the heels of the retailer’s recent mobile innovations.

Last summer, Sam’s Club offered customers daily deals on its site and app to enhance membership value and further augment its suite of mobile-friendly services, such as Club Pickup (see story).

It also piloted a new mobile check-in option at select stores across the nation as it expanded its Club Pickup service, which aims to undercut competition from other warehouse retailers by offering convenience (see story).

“We always want to innovate in mobile,” Ms. Gee said.